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Old 06-04-2010, 10:41 AM   #1
wishin' on a star
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Make-A-Wish, GKTW, Disney...Catherine's wish...5/17/10-5/23/10**UPDATED 8/2/10 pg. 6!

I know, I know...we've been home almost 2 weeks, and it's time to get this TR started!

First, a little introduction, in case you didn't know us before we went to Disney.

Me, Laura. I'm mom. Turned 40 (gulp!) in May. I used to be a RN in the ICU and Burn unit in a big trauma center in Washington DC. Now, I'm a stay at home mom to three beautiful kiddos. I keep myself very busy volunteering at their schools.

Hubby, Dave. He's 39. Yes, the younger man. And he loves to remind me of that. He works for a large hotel chain doing procurement for the architecture and design division. He plays baseball, coaches baseball, and watches baseball. No seriously, he's a fantastic dad and husband who spends most evenings and weekends in the backyard playing ball with the kids.

Carmella. She's 8. She's my preteen drama queen. I love it when she remembers she's still a little girl, and I love how going to Disney allowed her enjoy being the kid she is! She's beautiful, smart, and a fantastic big sister.

Catherine. She's 6. The "wish kid". Goes through more than her fair share of issues on a daily basis. She's just finishing kindergarten, and I've watched her really mature this year. She's strong-willed, and works so hard for everything she achieves. She never has trouble making a friend.

And John. He's 5. Starting kindergarten in the fall. He doesn't remember the great majority of Catherine's lengthy hospital stays, so a lot of this doesn't make sense to him. He has asthma, and has actually been in the hospital more than she has in the last couple of years. He loves to talk...and talk...and talk. He's on a t-ball team so he can learn to play baseball like Daddy!



So, how did Catherine get to make a wish? I'll try to bundle it all up here in a few short sentences. I think there's more detail in my PTR if you want more. I had an uneventful pregnancy, but following Catherine's birth there were MANY surprises. She was born with a major bowel defect and complex heart defect. With time, it was discovered that she had hydrocephalus, only one kidney, and congenital eye muscle fibrosis. In the first two years of her life, she had 8 major surgeries and several cardiac catheterizations. Things did settle down a bit after that, and when she was 4 she had stents placed in her pulmonary arteries. THis has allowed us time out of the operating room. As she grows, she will need more surgery...basically nothing in her heart grows with her. I guess it suits her well to be 34 pounds at almost 7 years old. Her bowel condition requires daily medication, and a constant watch that it's all working correctly.

For us, this was a perfect time for a wish. No current issues to be panicked about, and time to celebrate how well she is doing, while at the same time acknowledging all the struggles she has endured.

So, our adventure began. The wish granters came in February. We live in the DC area, and were pummeled with snow this winter, so they had to cancel once. But, Catherine knew exactly what she wanted to wish for! Once she made the wish, it was another month before we got the confirmation that it was all going to happen in May! The excitement in our house leading up the trip was unbelievable. We were asked to participate in the Big Give...boy I can't say enough amazing things about this. Check out my PTR if you want to see how much this made my kids smile. You will see many of the amazing outfits in my TR also! Catherine also had an awesome wish party hosted by Maggiano's restaurant during their MAW promotion month. She was the star of the show from beginning to end.

Next up...waiting for the "shuttle bus".
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Last edited by wishin' on a star; 08-02-2010 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:07 AM   #2
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I'm here!

I've been anxiously awaiting the start of your TR! Can't wait to hear all about your adventures!
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:21 AM   #3
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Hi Laura,
We did have quite a winter in Maryland! I'm looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip!
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:29 AM   #4
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I am so excited to get in on the beginning of another Wish TR!
I am glad I found it and can follow along!
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:32 AM   #5
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I'm looking forward to reading your trip report.
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Old 06-04-2010, 01:43 PM   #6
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Can't wait to follow along.
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:25 PM   #7
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I followed your PTR and can't wait to hear how the trip went. Post lots of those pictures... I can't even imagine 800 photos on your photopass. That is amazing!
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:36 PM   #8
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I can't wait to read the rest of this! We did get nailed here in MD this winter, I'm so glad you were able to get her wish granted!
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Old 06-04-2010, 08:32 PM   #9
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Happily following along
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Old 06-05-2010, 08:05 AM   #10
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Whoo Hoo!!! A trip report! I NEEDED this!

I can't wait to read more!!

Lynn
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Old 06-05-2010, 09:32 AM   #11
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I'm subbing to enjoy the ride.
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Old 06-05-2010, 09:55 AM   #12
wishin' on a star
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eecteacher82 View Post
I've been anxiously awaiting the start of your TR! Can't wait to hear all about your adventures!


Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC'96 View Post
Hi Laura,
We did have quite a winter in Maryland! I'm looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip!
Yay, another Marylander! Welcome, and I'm glad you're following along!

Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedmom4 View Post
I am so excited to get in on the beginning of another Wish TR!
I am glad I found it and can follow along!


Quote:
Originally Posted by cantwaittoseemickey View Post
I'm looking forward to reading your trip report.
I'm glad you're here! I hope to share some advice that helps you on your trip!
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessica52877 View Post
Can't wait to follow along.
Hi Jessica!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeniamt View Post
I followed your PTR and can't wait to hear how the trip went. Post lots of those pictures... I can't even imagine 800 photos on your photopass. That is amazing!
Yikes...I don't even have my photopass CD yet, so those pics will have to wait, but I do still have LOTS on my camera...haven't even counted those!

Quote:
Originally Posted by locolala View Post
I can't wait to read the rest of this! We did get nailed here in MD this winter, I'm so glad you were able to get her wish granted!
Thank you! I'm glad you're here!


Quote:
Originally Posted by disneymomof1 View Post
Happily following along


Quote:
Originally Posted by cajunfan View Post
Whoo Hoo!!! A trip report! I NEEDED this!

I can't wait to read more!!

Lynn
It's time...I'm finally starting. Thanks for being patient!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lumpy08 View Post
I'm subbing to enjoy the ride.



Boy, quite an audience already and we haven't even left the house yet!

I'm going to try to get another installment done now. But I have a sick kiddo here with me today. Catherine had a stomach bug yesterday, and John has some kind of variant on it today. Dave just took the girls with him to John's t-ball practice (without John!) so I have a few minutes here before they get home!

I'm a little nervous...I was not the best at journaling our trip after the first couple of days, so I'm hopeful that the pictures will help to trigger my memories!
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Old 06-05-2010, 09:59 AM   #13
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Im in. Cant wait to here more.
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Old 06-05-2010, 10:37 AM   #14
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Our flight was at 9:45 am out of Baltimore, which is about 40 minutes from our house. We were told our "transportation" would arrive at 6:45 am. That gives us PLENTY of time to get to the airport and do the check in, security, etc. I set the alarm clock for 5:30, and we were all up and ready to go...medicated Catherine with her Dramamine...mornings are not good for her in the car for some reason.

I wasn't officially told we would have a limo, but I had a sneaking suspicion that we would. However, I didn't want to set them up for disappointment...so I told them that we would be picked up by an airport shuttle bus! At 6:30, I was finishing getting ready, and Dave comes to the bathroom and whispers to me that there was a HUGE limo out front. I'm not sure why the kids weren't waiting by the window for our "transportation", but they weren't...so I finished getting ready and we took the luggage out to the garage.

Here they are coming out of the garage with their first view of the limo!


I should have asked the limo driver, but we didn't get a shot of the whole family in front of the limo. It was raining a little bit...but we didn't care...we were on our way to see Mickey!


Some shots of the kids inside! Catherine was a bit nervous this day, the whole "fear of the unknown" gets to her sometimes. We have an inside joke in our family when she gets like that, we all call her Nellie (you know, like Nervous Nellie!). It helps her to make light of it, too. She was actually a little made at me for not telling her about the limo. I guess she needed to be prepared for this...and perhaps I should have anticipated that...but I couldn't resist making it a big surprise!



Check-in went fine. We had decided to bring along the booster seats, just figuring you never know what you'll get with the rental car. Checking them was no big deal. They put them in a big plastic bag. On Southwest, two carseats count as one piece of luggage against your allowance.

Going through security was little stressful. Catherine decided at this point that she was hungry...and she was getting nervous and stressed...so she started to lose it quickly. We got through, but she had a HUGE meltdown on the other side after we put our shoes back on. Dave and I just looked at each other and shrugged, because it was completely irrational. We figured it was time for something to eat and a break. McDonald's fit the bill, and we allowed her to have a Sprite to make her smile! It worked, thank goodness!

The plane ride was pretty uneventful. I sat with the girls, and Dave and John sat in the row opposite us. We didn't even get out the laptop to watch a movie because we had so many great things from the Big Give to keep us busy! I even got to work on the Sodoku and crossword in the airline magazine!


Once we arrived in Orlando, it was 12:15, so we decided we'd better get something for the kids to eat before they realized they were hungry! McDonald's was in view again...so we picked up three Happy Meals and headed off to the monorail.


We were so excited to then see our GKTW greeters!


Jan and Don were awesome...but a little overwhelmed! There were two other MAW families on our flight, so they had to coordinate flights and cars for all of us, and keep everyone together. We didn't bring a stroller for the airport, so I was really hoping that Catherine wouldn't start to have trouble keeping up. Thankfully, she did okay...although that McDonald's was calling her name...she was getting hungry again!

We got out to the garage, and the car rental process was seamless for us. The agent told Dave to pick whatever he wanted, and although we had been told we'd get a minivan, we opted for the Ford Expedition for some excitement! The manager made sure to tell us not to fill the tank when we returned. We got our luggage loaded, confirmed that we had our toll money and map, and off we went!

Next up...our arrival at GKTW!
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Old 06-05-2010, 10:42 AM   #15
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So, as much as I want to make another post...I'm not sure where the CD with the GKTW stock photos is, and I haven't uploaded it yet...so stay tuned!
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